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JL's Journal

May 06, 2012

For North Carolinians, there is a strategic vote on Tuesday, May 8th, about the nature of marriage.  This is what the Amendment says: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”  Simple and clear enough.  Should be a slam-dunk vote!  Right?  Not necessarily.  Even though that is how most societies have understood and defined marriage since the beginning of time, that definition is increasingly being challenged morally and legally.  The necessity of Marriage Amendment One is the legal response to this battle to redefine traditional marriage.

The key legal issue is whether the traditional definition of marriage, as an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman, will stand.  Or whether it will be amended to legally validate and protect other “domestic relationships” – specifically between people of the same sex.  In other words, will the definition of marriage be widened to include homosexual relationships rather than just heterosexual relationships?  Will two homosexuals or two lesbians be granted all of the social and legal marital status of a man and woman?

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April 15, 2012

Pictured:  J.L. with Luke in the hospital upon his return home from Haiti;
Luke with his stuffed animals; Joy Yael, Owen, Patt and Luke;
Luke with ‘Easter candy’ that the Haitian children sent him

Dear Friends & Partners,

As most of you know, when I landed in Haiti last week on Maundy Thursday for a series of Easter Services, I received a text from Patt that made my heart stop – even with my pace maker!  She texted me that our grandson, Luke, had been life-flighted to the Chapel Hill Hospital with life-threatening meningitis.  As a father and grandfather, that's the kind of dreaded news you never want to receive!  When I read her one line text, I wanted to get on the next flight home!  But since it was Easter Weekend, all flights were over-booked – making that virtually impossible. So I agonized over what to do... 

Like so many others before me, I was caught in the conflict between the two callings of a parent and a preacher.  Down through the centuries, scores of other Christian parents, pastors, missionaries and military personnel before me have been caught up in this same conflict of conscience and calling.  But after multiple phone calls to Patt and my son, Jonathan, it was determined that I should stay in Haiti on a day-to-day-and-hour-by-hour basis since Luke was being stabilized medically. So by raw faith, I gutted it out and stayed to complete my preaching for Good Friday through Easter Sunday. 

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March 12, 2012

Dear JLPF Partner,

 

Let me make a confessionI’m a news junkie!”  Much to Patt’s chagrin, all I want to do when I am home and have any TV time is to watch news reports and political talk shows.  These are only occasionally interrupted by something non-political on NatGeo or Animal Planet.  But these days even nature and animals have been politicized by the right and left!

So now you know my TV viewing weaknesses!  Patt hopes you will pray for my deliverance from this “political addiction” before it becomes fatal!

PERCEPTIONS OF AMERICA

But I must confess that I am especially addicted to politics during election years – like 2012.   And when I am overseas, I am always fascinated by the opportunity to view America through the lenses of other countries and cultures – most of which view us very differently than we view ourselves.  Depending upon what country I am in, America is variously portrayed as a Christian nation…a city set on a hill…the land of opportunity…the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…a military bully…a capitalist exploiter…a colonialist country…the Great Satan.

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September 09, 2011

Dear Friends & Partners,
 
The horrific and destructive images of 9/11 are forever etched in the minds of every patriotic American -- including mine!  10 years ago when this Islamic jihadist assault took place against us as a nation, I had just returned from a mission trip in Africa.  I was catching up on emails when I received a call from my partner, Murli Menon, in India, alerting me to what was taking place at that very moment.  I ran from my computer to the TV to watch in stunned horror as the Twin Towers were brought down by our own hijacked planes!  Like most other Americans, I did not leave my TV set for the rest of the day and evening as I watched that savage saga unfold!

As I write this email to you, I have once again returned from 5 weeks in Africa.  It was my longest mission trip to date.  But 10 years ago, when Murli called me from India to turn on my TV set, I had just been in countries with a Muslim majority where I saw again first hand the repression, persecution -- and genocide that Islam imposes against other religious minorities in general, and against Jews and Christians in particular.  I saw and experienced the same thing on this African trip I have just returned from. (Be watching for a series of reports I will send out next week.)

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January 24, 2011

"Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?"  (Isa. 66:8)

Dear Ministry Friends & Partners,

What the prophet Isaiah asked about the miraculous rebirth of the nation of Israel can also be said about modern Sudan.  After nearly 40 years of civil war, a New Sudan is being "...born in a day."  What was the largest single country on the African continent and largest in the Arab world, is now being divided into two separate nations (see map).  The last such separation was in 1993 when Eritrea separated from Ethiopia after bloody civil war.  Through the years I have traveled and ministered extensively in both of those countries also.

BRIEF HISTORY LESSON

For nearly 4 decades, Sudan has been involved in a long and bloody civil war because of the systematic genocide being perpetuated by the Islamic regime in Khartoum against the South.  Northern Sudan is largely populated and dominated by Arabic-speaking Muslims -- led by the Islamic radical, Omar al-Bashir.  The South is largely Christian or animist and was led by Dr. John Garang until his death in a helicopter plane crash -- most probably a covert assassination.  The current leader of Southern Sudan is General Salva Kiir(pictured on magazine cover).

Over 5 years ago a Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) was put in place.  The Bush Administration was largely responsible for mandating the CPA which was signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on January 9, 2005.  Among other things, it put into place a 6 year transition period in which things like borders, power sharing and revenue sharing would be decided.  At the end of that period, the nation would vote on remaining together or separating (see ballot).  That week-long referendum voting took place between January 9 - 15 -- with the final results to be announced on either February 6th or 14th. 

Over 4 million were registered to vote and it looks like voter turn-out has been extremely high.  It is a foregone conclusions that the vote in the South has been almost 100% to succeed from the North and become a new country -- whose name is yet to be determined (There is strong support for "Cush" because of its presence and prominence in the Bible).

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